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  • Sally Gerak

Week of 12.25.17

SKY Foundation Annual Lunch

Henry Ford Hospital oncology surgeon Dr. David Kwon and U-M Pancreatic Cancer Center researcher Howard Crawford, PhD, both had words of hope for the 300-plus people ($125 - $2,500 tickets) at the SKY Foundation ninth annual benefit lunch at the MGM Grand Hotel. Kwon suggested that evolving technologies could make pancreatic cancer a chronic disease (instead of the speedy demise it currently is for 92% of patients). Crawford said, “(Sky Foundation grants) allow us to take risks...(and) high risk means high reward...I promise that you make a difference.” Following their presentations, Chris Anslanian conducted a live auction of 10 items that raised $55,000 and then 125 people made pledges that were matched (by Mary Beth Castorri, The Eaton Family, Suzi & Bruce Gershenson, Greg Glosser, Carol Quigley and the Williams Family Fund). Combined with the silent auction ($8,500) that was a pre-lunch diversion, the event grossed nearly $300,000 for research grants to find an early pancreatic cancer detection marker. Foundation founder Sheila Sky Kasselman is a 10-year survivor of the deadly disease.

JARC Fall Fundraiser

The 37th annual entertainment-focused benefit for an organization that serves people with developmental disabilities attracted more than 1,700 people ($100 - $5,000 tickets) to Orchestra Hall. The high energy British Rock Invasion show featured the DSO and singer Brody Dolyniuk performing the hits of such legends as The Who, Led Zepplin and The Rolling Stones. But the real reason most attended was revealed when “retired” Quicken Loans VP/interim JARC CEO/ board president David Carroll and chairs Dani Gillman and Ben Chutz spoke so convincingly about the high cost of fulfilling JARC’s mission to enrich lives and erase barriers. And in a video that showed gentle, loving caregivers and happy residents at home and on field trips. In the video a smiling resident proclaimed, “I’m perfect at JARC...and I’m not Jewish.” (The religious reference is to the values of the organization that was founded by parents 48 years ago and is now non-denominational.) Before the concert, 275 big check writers and Young Professionals convened in the CUBE for a strolling supper and more than 300 concertgoers returned there for a first time afterglow. Thanks to a gazillion sponsors including the Goodman Family, the annual event raised $1.2-million.

Beyond Basics Fall Event

Paddy Lynch’s historic Detroit home was the setting for Beyond Basic’s annual champions of literacy celebration. One hundred supporters ($150 & $300 tickets) were on hand for board member Jack Krasula’s presentation of the 2017 Partner of the Year award to UHY LLP for its team members’ mentoring activities and for the CPA firm’s donations to BB’s Caring for Kids program. UHY principal Loni Winkler accepted the award on behalf of Gordon Follmer. “We are...thankful for the opportunity to help make a difference in so many children’s lives,” she said. Board president Jack Aronson presented the Volunteer of the Year award to Royal Oak resident Mary Dunn, She described the thrill that came when a student, whose first three sessions had ended in tears the previous year, ran down the hallway to announce that she was on the honor roll. BB founder Pam Good noted that the longtime volunteer recently became a full time BB tutor. “...(Mary’s) dedication to our students and our mission shines through every interaction,” said Good. Thanks also to generous sponsors (Emily and Henry Ford III, Literacy Ally; Drew and Karen Peslar Foundation, Literacy Advocate; Luna Entertainment, Literacy Advocate; Ideal Group, Literacy Advocate; Giarmarco, Mullins, and Horton, Literacy Advocate; and The Skillman Foundation, Literacy Advocate) the evening raised $40,000 to help the non-profit literacy program change children’s lives by achieving grade level reading skills in six weeks.

Oakland Literacy Council Ex Libris Dinner

Speaking of literacy, the non-profit that teaches adults to read free of charge staged its 28th annual fundraising dinner at the Village Club. President Judy Lindstrom arrived late (because her mother Rita-Ann Lindstrom was being honored as Cranbrook House & Gardens’ Distinguished Volunteer at the 26th Annual National Philanthropy Day Dinner) but in time to thank the 95 supporters ($125, $175 tickets) with a Voltaire quote: “Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” It certainly applied to OLC tutor George Zak, whose pupil Jose Arenas did not speak English when he arrived here in 2014. (The bank manager, his wife and two children had to leave Venezuela after death threats from government socialists.) “I found a new life here...and a new family,” Arenas said, his voice filled with emotion as he described his friendship with his tutor and the development of a new career as “...the happiest, most underpaid chef.” Retired educator Russell Moore also conducted an interesting interview with author Sarah Miller, whose books bring history to life. Miller, whose new book about the Dionne quintuplets will be out in 2018, had fans in the crowd – members of a Rochester book club. Thanks to sponsors (see photo gallery), the worthwhile evening raised $38,600 to help the council equip adults with skills and confidence.

Women of Bloomfield Gala

More than 100 WoB members and their friends ($80 tickets) gathered at Oakland Hills Country Club for the Moonlight and Magic party chaired by Sharon Ulmer and Jacqueline Kendall and sponsored by Bill and Dee Sidelko. They socialized, bought lots of silent auction items and copies of the WoB newly-published cookbook, and savored dinner at tables with centerpieces created by Patti Hughet, Linda Kisic and Beverly Schine. Representatives from CARE House and SCAMP briefly described their missions and thanked all for their yearlong support. Singer / musician Steve Achoo entertained. The event raised $15,000. The organization has been providing friendship to its members in a variety of interest groups and philanthropy for 32 years.

Check in the coming weeks for reports & photos from these events:

Baldwin Library Books & Bites

Brave Knight Benefit

Birmingham Panhellenic Alumnae Association Luncheon

Mistletoe Marketplace

FAR Friends and Fa-La-La

Preservation Bloomfield Tea & Tiara Luncheon

Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation Gala Evening at the Movies

South Oakland Shelter Dancing with Detroit Stars

Women’s Division Project HOPE Luncheon & Boutique

Angels Place 25th Anniversary

Rochester Garden Club Greens Market

Christ Child Society Christmas Home Tour

Ronald McDonald House Tea

Kidney Ball

The Boys & Girls Clubs Great Futures Gala

Salvation Army benefit at the London Chop House

Meadow Brook Hall Starlight Stroll

Detroit Historical Society Ball

Send ideas for this column to Sally Gerak, 28 Barbour Lane, Bloomfield Hills, 48304, email or call (248) 646-6390.


The Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s annual New Year’s Eve Bash concert 10 pm, Sunday, Dec. 31 will feature the music of Michael Jackson but partying occurs before and after. Party packages include: $125 (Pretty Young Things) and $275 (Thriller) with dining on the stroll; $500 (Man in the Mirror) with seated pre-concert dinner. PYTs park in the DSO garage; others include valet parking. Post concert sipping, supping and dancing revelry goes on until 2am. Go to for more details and to buy tickets or call Sarah Hamel at 313-576-5449.

After 12 years of staging The Gallery at the MGM Grand, it is now the official kick-off of the North American International Auto Show and will be 6:30 - 11 pm, Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018 in the Atrium at Cobo Center. It is a night of fine food and the world’s most exclusive automobiles. Guests will see a nearly $10-million collection of the most acclaimed automobiles the world has to offer, including brands such as Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche and Rolls Royce, to name just a few. A silent auction will benefit C.S. Mott Children’s hospital. For tickets ($250) call 248-283-5126 or go to All NAIAS ticket information, including the Charity Preview Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, is available at both places.

Lisa & Bill Ford and Kathy & Jim Hackett are hosting 2018 AutoGlow, An Evening in Casablanca, at Ford Field before and after the above-mentioned NAIAS Charity Preview. Plans for The Children’s Center fundraiser include valet parking, shuttle service to and from Cobo, tastes from the culinary talents of Ford Field's Levy Restaurants throughout the evening, including a pre-event reception, full strolling dinner service, desserts and full bar service, live music and dancing to the Nightline band and a late night menu. AutoGlow tickets are $275 each when purchased by Dec. 15, and $325 after that date. For AutoGlow tickets and sponsorship information call The Children’s Center at 313- 262-1085 or go to In order to purchase an AutoGlow ticket, individuals must be a NAIAS Charity Preview ticket holder. To order NAIAS Charity Preview tickets, call (888) 838-7500. The Children’s Center is one of eight charities benefiting from North American International Auto Show Charity Preview proceeds

Elise and Steve Guidos are hosting the Preview Party for the annual CARE House Circle of Friends event Thursday evening, Jan. 18, 2018 at their Bloomfield Hills home. The guest of honor will be abuse survivor Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Mulcahy. He is the featured speaker at the main event, the Circle of Friends Luncheon, Thursday, Jan. 25 at The Townsend. Jeana Asmaro and Elise are the chairs. For tickets, ($125 and up) call CARE House at 248-332-7173 or go to

David King and Dante Rosa are chairing the Chili Mac & Apps Cook-Off benefiting Variety. The Children’s Charity, 6:30 pm Friday, Jan. 26, 2018 at The Townsend Hotel. Plans include, chili, mac’n’ cheese and appetizers from noted area chefs vying for “best” titles, open bar and foot-stomping music for dancing. For tickets ($100 & $150) go online to or call 248-258-5511.

Patti Brozek and Bridget Sagmani are chairing the Dancing with our St. Regis Stars Gala Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018 at the Detroit Golf Club. Plans include strolling dinner, drinks, DJ, live auction, wine, champagne and bourbon wall, 50/50 raffle, a cigar tent, souvenir photos and a dance contest. It will feature six St. Regis celebrities - Roseann Donaldson, Krustin Impasto, Meghan Rivard, Nick Gorga, Mike Kulka and Gaabe Zawaideh – performing with professional dancers from Fred Astaire Dance Studio. For tickets (VIP-$250; General-$150) and to vote for dancers go to Proceeds benefit St. Regis School.

Ethan Davidson is the keynote speaker at The Community House Bates Street Society dinner Saturday, Feb.3 at The Community House. The celebration of service and philanthropy will honor 2018 Pillars of Society inductees Dr. David DiChiera, Dr. Robert Folberg, Geoffrey Hockman, Julie Rodecker, Judge Gerald E. Rosen, Paul W. Smith and Katie Valenti. Plans include valet parking, cocktails, three course seated dinner and live entertainment. For tickets ($300-patron, includes 6 pm reception with honorees past and present; $200-6:30pm admission), go to Philanthropy at or call 248-644-5832.

Sue Atwell, Joellen Shortley and Cathy Brooks are the leadership team for the Marian High School Mardi Gras, Saturday, Feb.3 at the high school. Plans include Creole cuisine, open bar, silent and live auctions, dancing to the Good Gravy band, scholarship raffle and camaraderie.

Send ideas for this column to Sally Gerak, 28 Barbour Lane, Bloomfield Hills, 48304 or email

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